The hammam is a public bathhouse where the combination of a steam, black oily soap and fierce scrubbing result in the best exfoliation you’ve ever had. They are seen as the communal cornerstone of every town playing an important role in the social lives of many (especially women).

Going to the hammam for the first time can be a daunting experience, but anyone who’s ever been will tell you that it is worth it.

If you decide to go, you have two options:

  1. Pay the entry price and do the scrubbing yourself (6-10 Dh)
  2. Pay the entry price plus “massage”, meaning that you will have a personal scrubber (40-50 Dh)

The second option means that you don’t have to worry about what you are supposed to be doing. You will be guided through the process and have an authentic scrub experience. They will also provide the scrubbing mitt and black soap (made from the kernel of the olive nut) required. Men and women are separated, either by different entrances or different opening hours.

The procedure involves, firstly, taking off your clothes (everything apart from your underwear) and leaving them and your towel in the lockers. Then, you will be directed into a warm room where you rub the soap all over your body. After, you go into a slightly cooler room, where the soap is washed off and you are given the scrub. Once you are clean, buckets of warm water are poured all over you. If you have brought shampoo, they will use this to wash your hair. For the massage (5 minutes) they may use your body wash. After being rinsed in a few more buckets of water you are free to go – with baby soft skin and completely relaxed.

This information is based on visits to “Menara” the hammam jadid (new bathhouse) on Avenue 16 Novembre, but the experience in the others will be similar. This hammam has an entrance for women (front) and for men (right side) and is open all day, every day (8am – 10pm).